Posts Tagged ‘Scripture’
The prodigal is at the swine-trough but finds that he cannot as a rational creature feed himself with the husks that non-rational creatures eat. It is in this situation that the present volume goes out, beseeching the prodigal to return to the father’s house. In the father’s house are many mansions. In it alone will the “son” find refuge and food. The presupposition of all intelligible meaning for man in the intellectual, the moral and the aesthetic spheres is the existence of the God of the Bible who, if he speaks at all in grace cannot, without denying himself, but speak in a self-contained infallible fashion. Only in a return to the Bible as infallibly inspired in its autography is there hope for science, for philosophy and for theology. Without returning to this Bible science and philosophy may flourish for a while with his father’s substance. But the prodigal had no self-sustaining principle. No man has till he accepts the Scripture that Warfield presents.
Cornelius Van Til in his foreword to Warfield’s Inspiration and Authority, via Heavenly Worldliness.
More Calvin, writing in the preface to Pierre-Robert Olivétan’s 1535 translation of the New Testament:
He [Christ] is Isaac, the beloved Son of the Father who was offered as a sacrifice, but nevertheless did not succumb to the power of death. He is Jacob the watchful shepherd, who has such great care for the sheep which he guards. He is the good and compassionate brother Joseph, who in his glory was not ashamed to acknowledge his brothers, however lowly and abject their condition. He is the great sacrificer and bishop Melchizedek, who has offered an eternal sacrifice once for all. He is the sovereign lawgiver Moses, writing his law on the tables of our hearts by his Spirit. He is the faithful captain and guide Joshua, to lead us to the Promised Land. He is the victorious and noble king David, bringing by his hand all rebellious power to subjection. He is the magnificent and triumphant king Solomon, governing his kingdom in peace and prosperity. He is the strong and powerful Samson, who by his death has overwhelmed all his enemies. This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him from God the Father. If one were to sift thoroughly the Law and the Prophets, he would not find a single word which would not draw and bring us to him. . . . Therefore, rightly does Saint Paul say in another passage that he would know nothing except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
via Justin Taylor.
I mentioned this principle on Sunday, but nothing like as beautifully as Calvin does here:
The Holy Spirit so inheres in his truth, which he expresses in Scripture, that only when its proper reverence and dignity are given to the Word does the Holy Spirit show forth his power…. For by a kind of mutual bond the Lord has joined together the certainty of his Word and of his Spirit so that the perfect religion of the Word may abide in our minds when the Spirit, who causes us to contemplate God’s face, shines; and that we in turn may embrace the Spirit with no fear of being deceived when we recognize him in his own image, namely, in the Word. So indeed it is. God did not bring forth his Word among men for the sake of a momentary display, intending at the coming of his Spirit to abolish it. Rather, he sent down the same Spirit by whose power he had dispensed the Word, to complete his work by the efficacious confirmation of the Word.
Calvin, Institutes, 1.9.3
via The Old Guys.
From J. C. Ryle:
The Christianity which I call fruit-bearing, that which shows its Divine origin by its blessed effects on mankind – the Christianity which you may safely defy unbelievers to explain away – that Christianity is a very different thing. Let me show you some of its leading marks and features.
(1) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always taught the inspiration, sufficiency, and supremacy of Holy Scripture. It has told people that God’s Word written is the only trustworthy rule of faith and practice in religion, that God requires nothing to be believed that is not in this Word, and that nothing is right which contradicts it. It has never allowed reason, a person’s mind, or the voice of the Church, to be placed above, or on a level with Scripture. It has steadily maintained that, however imperfectly we may understand it, the Old Book is meant to be the only standard of life and doctrine.
(2) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always taught fully the sinfulness, guilt and corruption of human nature. It has told people that they are born in sin, deserve God’s wrath and condemnation, and are naturally inclined to do evil. It has never allowed that men and women are only weak and pitiable creatures, who can become good when they please, and make their own peace with God. On the contrary, it has steadily declared a person’s danger and vileness, and their pressing need of a Divine forgiveness and satisfaction for their sins, a new birth or conversion, and an entire change of heart.
(3) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always set before people the Lord Jesus Christ as the chief object of faith and hope in religion, as the Divine Mediator between God and humanity, the only source of peace of conscience, and the root of all spiritual life. It has never been content to teach that He is merely our Prophet, our Example, and our Judge. The main things it has ever insisted on about Christ are the atonement for sin He made by His death, His sacrifice on the cross, the complete redemption from guilt and condemnation by His blood, His victory over the grave by His resurrection, His active life of intercession at God’s right hand, and the absolute necessity of simple faith in Him. In short, it has made Christ the Alpha and the Omega in Christian theology.
(4) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always honored the Person of God the Holy Spirit, and magnified His work. It has never taught that all professing Christians have the grace of the Spirit in their hearts, as a matter of course, because they are baptized, or because they belong to the Church, or because they partake of Holy communion. It has steadily maintained that the fruits of the Spirit are the only evidence of having the Spirit, and that those fruits must be seen, – that we must be born of the Spirit, led by the Spirit, sanctified by the Spirit, and feel the operations of the Spirit, – and that a close walk with God in the path of His commandments, a life of holiness, charity, self-denial, purity, and zeal to do good, are the only satisfactory marks of the Holy Spirit.
Summary ► Such is true fruit-bearing Christianity. Well would it have been for the world if there had been more of it during the last nineteen centuries! Too often, and in too many parts of Christendom, there has been so little of it, that Christ’s religion has seemed extinct, and has fallen into utter contempt. But just in proportion as such Christianity as I have described has prevailed, the world has benefited, the unbeliever has been silenced, and the truth of Divine revelation been acknowledged. The tree has been known by its fruit.
via J.C. Ryle Quotes.
We know this fight.
A Christian believes, not because everything in life reveals the love of God, but rather despite everything that raises doubt. In Scripture too there is much that raises doubt. All believers know from experience that this is true. Those who engage in biblical criticism frequently talk as if simple church people know nothing about the objections that are advanced against Scripture and are insensitive to the difficulty of continuing to believe in Scripture. But that is a false picture. Certainly, simple Christians do not know all the obstacles that science raises to belief in Scripture. But they do to a greater or lesser degree know the hard struggle fought both in head and heart against Scripture. There is not a single Christian who has not in his or her own way learned to know the antithesis between the “wisdom of the world” and “the foolishness of God.” It is one and the same battle, an ever-continuing battle, which has to be waged by all Christians, learned or unlearned, to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
Here on earth no one ever rises above that battle. Throughout the whole domain of faith, there remain “crosses” (cruces) that have to be overcome. There is no faith without struggle. To believe is to struggle, to struggle against the appearance of things. As long as people still believe in anything, their belief is challenged from all directions.
Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic, 2003), 441.
via The Old Guys.
The believer’s confidence in Christ increases along with their confidence in Scripture and, conversely, ignorance of the Scriptures is automatically and proportionately ignorance of Christ
Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic, 2003), 440.
HT The Old Guys.
But when we are told that this is the time of year when Christians begin to think again about the death and resurrection of Christ, does it not prompt the question of what we are supposed to be doing for the rest of the year? When men speak after their so-called Holy Week of the abating euphoria of the resurrection, surely they are explaining why a merely annual remembrance is insufficient? Christ Jesus is the risen Lord for 365 days of every year (plus the extra one when required), and we have a weekly opportunity for the distinct recollection of his death in an atmosphere conditioned by his resurrection. To flatten the whole year, perhaps rising only to a few unnatural annual peaks, is to miss so much, to lose so many things, to gain so little.
Christ died to set us free from empty things. Men died to liberate us from the rigamarole of unscriptural traditions and man-made routines and performances of religiosity. I hope that you will hear a voice from the blood-washed streets of the Old World, where those battles and the cost of their victory are ground into our consciousness, where the issues and enemies are neither distant nor tame, and where the lines remain clearly drawn in the collective memory of some of the Lord’s people, and consider whether or not the prizes so hardly won ought to be so quickly abandoned.
The conclusion of a heartfelt plea at Reformation21.
If Scripture is the account of the revelation of God in Christ, it is bound to arouse the same opposition as Christ himself who came into the world for judgement and is “set for the fall and rising of man” [Luke 2:34]. He brings separation between light and darkness and reveals the thoughts of many hearts. Similarly Scripture is a living and active word, a “discerner” of the thoughts and intentions of the heart [cf. Heb. 4:12]. It not only was inspired but is still “God-breathed” and “God-breathing.” Just as there is much that precedes the act of inspiration (all the activity of the Holy Spirit in nature, history, revelation, regeneration), so there is much that follows it as well. Inspiration is not an isolated event. The Holy Spirit does not, after the act of inspiration, withdraw from Holy Scripture and abandon it to its fate but sustains and animates it and in many ways brings its content to humanity, to its heart and conscience. By means of Scripture as the word of God, the Holy Spirit continually wars against the thoughts and intentions of the “unspiritual” person. By itself, therefore, it need not surprise us in the least that Scripture has at all times encountered contradiction and opposition. Christ bore a cross, and the servant [Scripture] is not greater than its master. Scripture is the handmaiden of Christ. It shares in his defamation and arouses the hostility of sinful humanity.
Herman Bavinck in Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 439-440.
via The Old Guys.
Tim Challies has begun what looks like it might be an interesting brief series on how God is speaking today, not least in the matter of discerning the Lord’s will. I appreciated his rooting the reality in the inscripturated, final Word of the living God.
I was glad to see that he pointed us toward the Lord Christ: he is our High High Priest; he is our sole Sovereign; and, he is our final and sufficient Prophet.
God-breathed, each sacred page reveals
The sacred truth of God on high;
God condescends to speak to man,
His holy name to magnify.
Divine, no error mars the Word,
No folly creeps across the page.
The Word of God unsullied stands
From shore to shore and age to age.
Unchanged, the Word of God remains
The same across the passing years;
The truth which fired the martyrs’ hearts
Still freshly rings in modern ears.
Complete, our every need is met
Within the holy, precious book.
Our souls are saved, and kept, and fed
Beside the waters of this brook.
How warmly gleams this heav’n-forged blade,
Far sharper than a two-edged sword;
It overcomes the hardest heart,
And spreads God’s glorious power abroad.
“Enlarge our hearts to understand
The light of God to sinful man!
Grant grace to choose the way of truth,
To run the way that you command.”
See all hymns and psalms.
Kevin DeYoung has an interesting post on maintaining simplicity and clarity in interpreting the Scriptures, based in part on the environment in which the original recipients of the gospels and epistles especially would have heard the good news.
Great God, our eyes are slow to see
The truth your Word contains,
And you alone have power to break
Our understanding’s chains.
Our ears are stopped, our minds are weak,
Our hearts are dull and cold.
How can this be when in your Word
The truth is clear and bold?
So slow our feet to walk your paths;
So slow our hands to learn;
So slow our minds to grasp the truth;
So slow our hearts to burn.
We search the Scriptures and we catch
A fleeting glimpse of Christ.
Remove the scales, arrest our minds,
And grant increasing light.
Have pity, Lord, and help our cause:
How much we long to be
Men of the Word, whose great delight
Is more of Christ to see!
See all hymns and psalms.
Paul Wallace has this withering quote from James Montgomery Boice:
Evangelicals are not heretics, at least not consciously. If we ask whether the Bible is the authoritative and inerrant Word of God, most will answer affirmatively, at least if the question is asked in traditional ways. Is the Bible God’s Word? Of course! All evangelicals know that. Is it authoritative? Yes, that too. Inerrant? Most evangelicals will affirm inerrancy. But many evangelicals have abandoned the Bible all the same simply because they do not think it adequate for the challenges we face today. They do not think it is sufficient for winning people to Christ in this age, so they turn to felt-need sermons, or entertainment or “signs and wonders” instead. They do not think the Bible is sufficient for achieving Christian growth, so they turn to therapy groups or Christian counselling. They do not think it is sufficient for making God’s will known, so they look for external signs or revelations. They do not think it is adequate for changing our society, so they establish evangelical lobby groups in Washington and work to elect “Christian” congressman, senators, presidents, and other officials. They seek change by power politics and money. (Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace, Paternoster Lifestyle, 24)